Skip to Content

Antibiotics for Mastitis While Breast-Feeding

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
cephalexin Keflex
dicloxacillin  

How It Works

Antibiotics eliminate infection by killing bacteria.

Why It Is Used

Antibiotics are used to treat a bacterial breast infection (mastitis) and are prescribed after a breast abscess is drained.

How Well It Works

Treatment of breast infections with antibiotics usually is successful if the full prescription is taken. Treatment does not harm the breast-feeding baby.

Side Effects

The side effects of penicillin-based antibiotics, such as dicloxacillin, are rare. If they occur, they usually are mild and include:

  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Intestinal gas.
  • Loose stools or diarrhea.
  • Allergic reactions, such as skin rashes and itching.

The side effects of cephalosporin antibiotics, such as cephalexin, are rare. If they occur, they usually are mild and include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Belly pain.
  • Allergic reactions, such as skin rashes and itching.
  • Vaginal yeast infection.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

The entire supply of antibiotics prescribed should be taken, even after symptoms of the infection have cleared up.

Resistant bacteria have become more common causes of infections. If your mastitis is caused by a resistant strain of bacteria, the first treatment with an antibiotic may not cure it. Some women who have mastitis may need a second treatment with a different antibiotic.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised January 10, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.